Veterans Aid hosts visitors from the University of Georgia

June 25, 2018
Dr Melissa Landers-Potts, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Human Development and Family Science (FACS) at the University of Georgia (UGA), was accompanied by students who are in London as part of UGA FACS London Study Abroad Program.

An American academic has become the latest in a string of international experts to visit Veterans Aid. The visitors spent a morning with CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy learning about the charity’s unique Welfare to Wellbeing© model, first introduced by Dr Milroy in Professor Jay Mancini’s book Pathways to Human Development.

Dr Landers-Potts has recently co-authored a paper on adolescents in military families in Journal of Child and Family Studies. During Dr Milroy’s former military career he was senior welfare specialist for the Royal Air Force worldwide so the two had much common ground.

After the visit Dr Milroy said, “We clearly have a shared interest in the wellbeing of service personnel and their dependents and it was a pleasure to welcome someone, introduced by Professor Mancini, who was keen to look at social and family issues in Britain through the prism of military service. Of course, these are not separate areas. Separation and regular absence of a parent is not unique to the Armed Forces and military families face many of the same problems as those in wider society.”

Dr Landers-Potts said, “The model for service provision at Veterans Aid differs from traditional approaches to helping the homeless that, as Dr Milroy pointed out to us, have been used since the Victorian Era and are often based on pity and charity. While these motivations for action may sound quite normal and not altogether offensive, Dr Milroy showed us through many real-life anecdotes he has encountered in his work how and why the traditional model of service delivery is harmful and dis-empowers those it is meant to assist. His is a model that recognizes the complex ecosystem that encircles every human being and he pointed out that there is no way to effectively provide assistance to a homeless person until their particular ecosystem is well understood. Previous service models have, by contrast, required the person to seek services within a stiff, inflexible provision system with limited avenues of assistance. Additionally, charitable organizations have presumed to know what the homeless person needs.  By contrast, the model used at Veterans Aid individually tailors services to the particular requirements of the person in order for them to function well, and this is in part a key to its success. In short, the Veterans Aid model is quite logical and it has also been shown to be economical and more effective than the ‘business-as-usual’ model of government service provision and charity.”

Below are some comments of students in the class:

Hailey: “Dr Milroy’s philosophy of helping a veteran become a person like everyone else again made me look at our approach to homelessness in a completely different way. Rather than remaining stagnant in a cycle of hopelessness and dependency, Veterans Aid works to rebuild each person’s life based on their individual needs.”

Carli: “I thought it was admirable that his biggest focus is on the individual. You could tell how much he cares about their well being and setting them up for success. I loved the way he intentionally creates opportunity for choice, control, and normalization and is able to help meet people where they’re at and support their individual needs.”

Davis:  “Before learning about Veterans Aid, I believed that a vast number of veterans had PTSD and I realised that a lot of information that I have been reading in the news is actually false and overly exaggerated. It is also incredibly amazing that the organization focuses on individual needs and choices of a person instead of the group overall. This seems to help the veterans in need greatly, which then allows them to become more successful in life.”

Patrick: “I loved his approach to the model of helping veterans and taking a more military approach with the operation room and fast action. They were there to put people first and their outcomes reflect that with empowerment and support.”

Veterans Aid hosts visitors from The University of Georgia 2018

Photo caption: Back (left to right): Madison Cobb, Hannah Boykin, Patrick Monroe, Natalie Speciale, Dr Melissa Landers-Potts; Front (left to right): Carli Fischer, Lindsey Gilliam, Davis Potts and Dr Hugh Milroy.